Links Daily Devotional

Gripped

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

When I think about uncomfortable places in the golf game, I see a ball resting between two roots, a plugged lie in the bunker, a ball half showing in the water hazard or deep in the rough. These are all places we would rather not go, yet if you play golf long enough, you will surely encounter these.

When it comes to the golf swing, there are uncomfortable places too. Many would agree with me that a grip change is probably the most uncomfortable of all. This seemingly tiny fundamental is so hard to change. It takes a large amount of commitment and trust. And it takes a hope of a better end than where we started to see it through.

Lately, I have really enjoyed reading the Psalms because they relate to us well; we can see the wretchedness of our human hearts, yet they don’t leave us without hope. The Old Testament foreshadows our hope in Christ, as an allusion to the fulfillment that he brought in his life and death and resurrection. Today the element of wretchedness addressed is the desire for comfort. Comfort can be such a powerful force in our lives—just like in our golf game. I find that this desire shows up in many instances: the snooze button, that piece of carrot cake, the balance in our bank account, what we say or don’t say to others, when we choose to help or not help others, how we choose to spend our time, how hard we work out, our attitude when we don’t like the “lie” the ball of life settles into. Ultimately, when we are ruled by comfort, we choose a grip that feels good, but is fundamentally wrong and leads us into all sorts of trouble. Maybe it will work for a little bit, but you know you will be in a world of pain trying to fix it pretty soon!

If we make all the decisions that are enumerated above based on our comfort, then what is it that leads us? We may believe in God, but sometimes we choose to follow another god functionally. Jesus says, “Follow me.” It is a simple command—yet we fail at it many times. Fortunately, we are not the first ones to fail. In the eyewitness account of Jesus’ life recorded in the gospel of Matthew, when his disciples inadvertently fall asleep when they were supposed to stay awake, Jesus asked Peter: “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” Then he said “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

So how can we escape this fate of disobedience and following something else other than our God? The first part is to realize that we can’t escape it on our own. Our flesh is weak! That is why David asked God to restore to him the joy of his salvation. He, just like us (especially in times of entanglement to sin), needed to remember what God had already done for him. Notice that he was not asking God for salvation, as he had already received it. But he needed, in his heart, to remember once again the joy that the Lord’s salvation brings. In the same way, we need to remember God’s grace, this undeserved gift that Christ has given us. When we realize the personal debt he paid for us, we can’t help but be filled with joy! After all the times that the disciples fell short of Jesus’ requests, Christ still called them brothers and loved them and kept using them, giving them a calling and purpose to build his Church. This amazing love is what motivates us to please God.

The second part to overcome disobedience has to do with bringing our requests to God. David prayed for a willing spirit; he realized he couldn’t even do that on his own. It is not easy to pray that prayer knowing that being willing might mean some uncomfortable places. But I think there is an insight in the words “to sustain me.” I think David knew the secret to obedience, because he also knew the secret of disobedience. He knew where his sin (adultery, murder) had brought him—to separation from God and spiritual death—though it seemed like a good idea at the time. Therefore, he knew that following God, despite seeming uncomfortable sometimes, was a road where God would sustain him.

God has given us his Holy Spirit to sustain and empower us in the ways we should go. Therefore, since we are securely “gripped” by his love and have a hope of a better end, let us commit to remain in his love and grip life properly!

Isabelle Beisiegel

August 22, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.